Eight years ago I purchased my Smart Roadster-Coupé, mentioning my love for the original Smart City in its introductory post. Thanks to my wife’s excellent taste in cars I’ve also enjoyed the use of both a first and second generation fortwo over the years; about time to complete the set* then!

The Panda 4×4 has been an excellent companion over the last 18 months, its breadth of ability and ease of ownership giving me the opportunity to “get my breath back” after the unexpected demises of both the JDMny and the Wagon All-the-Rs. The characterful little Twinair engine has kept me smiling throughout but, truth be told, the rest of the car sometimes felt a little bit… normal. When caked in B-road grime and parked somewhere suitably rural it could look quite rufty-tufty, but a short spell in a very ordinary budget-spec courtesy Panda caught me off guard – it felt way too similar than I expected.

The Panda 4×4 looking rufty-tufty

Figuring out where to go post-JDMny wasn’t easy given that my vehicular spiritual home, the 90s and early 2000s, had become an increasingly difficult place to inhabit: what were once affordable daily drivers were now well over 20 years old – some even approaching 30 – meaning they were either incredibly dog-eared and worn or (increasingly) being earmarked as “future classics” or “investment opportunities”… with price tags to match. The Panda was my first attempt at finding a new appreciation for cars outside that special era – cars that, for someone without a huge amount of money to spend, are at least becoming more affordable as they age. The switch wasn’t easy, not least because the vast majority of modern cars are just plain dull (it seems to me that we’re sorely lacking the kinds of cars that can brighten our days simply through their very existence), but thankfully there are some exceptions and the Smart fortwo is definitely one of them… especially in this particular example’s punchy “black-yellow” hue!

Having made that initial leap with the Panda it’s great to continue exploring this “new world” with the fortwo. It’s also really fun to be back in a genuinely small car and, when something electric is still a little too far out of reach for me financially, the (relatively) low-impact combination of a small physical footprint and 50+mpg efficiency feels pretty good too.

* We don’t talk about the first generation forfour 😬